Everyone has heard complaints about the Year of a Million Dreams promotion currently going on at all of the “Disney Parks” worldwide; one of which is that people simply don’t know what it is. However one of the bigger problems with the promotion is how they are altering the parks and attractions just to scrape up a prize to give to their profiled and computer-selected winners.
Don’t know what I’m talking about?
Well by now everyone knows that the Disney Gallery is closing on July 31st to make room for a premium suite usable only by a Year of a Million Dreams winner. With Tony Baxter now in charge of the Imagineering side of things at Disneyland, I fail to see how the idea of tearing out the gallery he came up with the idea for got past the drawing board; but that’s beside the point.
No, there have been other changes to Disneyland due to the Year of a Million Dreams promotion and people haven’t been making a big deal about it either because they don’t care, they’re being paid to say positive things about the promotion, or some combination of the two.
The Disney Gallery isn’t the first attraction to be lost to the Year of a Million Dreams. The first attraction to be lost is also something that was personal to Walt; The Mark Twain.
“But I just rode The Mark Twain!” you say? True you can still ride The Mark Twain at Disneyland, however you can no longer access one of the best parts of the attraction. I’m talking about the Wheelhouse. If you didn’t know, you can yell up to the Captain in the Wheelhouse before the river boat departs the dock, and if there is no one up there; you can ride along while steering the ship, ringing the bell, and blowing the horn as the boat makes its way around the Rivers of America. You even get to sign your name into the guest book in the wheelhouse.
Unfortunately with the Year of a Million Dreams now plaguing the parks, you can no longer ride in the Wheelhouse unless you are one of the lucky profiled and computer-selected winners of the promotion. No longer can you simply call up to the Captain before the boat departs to experience that part of the attraction.
This may not seem to be a big deal to most people, but removing attractions from regular guests to the park is a very big deal and completely goes against the philosophy under which Disneyland was built back in 1955. Walt built Disneyland so that everyone could enjoy the attractions in the park.
You didn’t have to be a contest winner to ride on Dumbo or the Teacups in Fantasyland. But in today’s Disneyland you now have to be a contest winner to visit Walt’s Royal Suite in New Orleans Square or ride in the Wheelhouse on The Mark Twain. These aren’t new attractions that were created for this promotion; these are existing attractions that have been taken away from guests just to fill a prize role in a contest.
Removing attractions from the “normal” guests who visit the park everyday sets a dangerous precedent. With the Year of a Million Dreams being extended to go through 2008, what will they remove next? Will the front row seats on Space Mountain or California Screamin’ become special prizes for contest winners? Will the rumored return of the Sleeping Beauty’s Castle Walkthrough be exclusive for the Year of a Million Dreams? Before you think none of that would be possible, just think that a year ago Disneyland had two additional attractions that anyone could experience, which have now been taken away to be part of a contest.